LYON – French authorities are questioning a 35-year-old delivery man of North African origin suspected of a macabre Islamist attack involving the beheading of his boss and an attempt to blow up a US-owned chemicals plant in southeastern France.
Salhi is suspected of having rammed his delivery van into a warehouse of gas containers, triggering an initial explosion. He was arrested minutes later while opening canisters containing flammable chemicals, prosecutors said on Friday Police later found the head of the victim, the 54-year-old manager of the transport firm that employed the suspect, dangling from a fence at the site, framed by flags with written references to Islam. Salhi, his wife, sister and a fourth person were being held for questioning over the weekend. Salhi was known to French authorities as a potential risk because he visited Islamists but there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.